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Title image: UC Region Colorado River Storage Project


Aspinall Unit Quick Facts

Three dams comprise the Wayne N. Aspinall Unit on Gunnison River in western Colorado: Blue Mesa Dam, Morrow Point Dam, and Crystal Dam. These three dams and the reservoirs they impound are located within a
40-mile stretch of the river below Gunnison, Colorado. Originally named the Curecanti Unit, the name of this Colorado River Storage Project unit was changed in 1980 to honor Colorado Congressman Wayne N. Aspinall, a strong proponent of water resource development in Colorado and the Western states.


Blue Mesa Dam  
Location Gunnison River, 30 miles below Gunnison, CO
Uppermost of the three dams
Dam type Zoned earthfill embankment
Construction period 1962 - 1966
Crest length 785 feet (239 meters)
Structural height 390 feet (119 meters)
Volume of material 3 million cubic yards (2.3 million cubic meters)
Spillway type Concrete intake strcuture, concrete lined tunnel and flip bucket
Spillway capacity 34,000 cubic feet per second (254,320 gallons per second)
Powerplant 2 generation units, 86 megawatt capacity
Blue Mesa Reservoir  
Reservoir length 20 miles (32 kilometers)
Miles of shoreline 96 miles (154 kilometers)
Surface area when full 9,180 acres (3,715 hectares)
Capacity when full 940,800 acre-feet (1,160 million cubic meters)
Depth of water at dam when full 333 feet (101.5 meters)


Morrow Point Dam  
Location Gunnison River, 12 miles downstream of Blue Mesa Dam
Dam type Double-curvature, thin-arch concrete
Construction period 1963 - 1968
Crest length 724 feet (220 meters)
Structural height 468 feet (143 meters)
Volume of concrete 365,180 cubic yards (279,200 cubic meters)
Spillway type 4 orifice-type openings providing free-fall discharge
Spillway capacity 41,000 cubic feet per second (306,701 gallons per second)
Powerplant 2 generation units, 173 megawatt capacity
Morrow Point Reservoir  
Reservoir length 12 miles (19.3 kilometers)
Surface area when full 817 acres (313 hectares)
Capacity when full 117,190 acre-feet (145 million cubic meters)
Depth of water at dam when full 413 feet (125.8 meters)


Crystal Dam  
Location Gunnison River, 6 miles downstream of Morrow Point Dam
Dam type Double-curvature, thin-arch concrete
Construction period 1973-1976
Crest length 635 feet (194 meters)
Structural height 323 feet (98 meters)
Volume of concrete 154,400 cubic yards (118,047 cubic meters)
Spillway type Ungated ogee crest on right side of dam and plunge pool at toe
Powerplant 1 generation unit, 32 megawatt capacity
Crystal Reservoir  
Reservoir length 6 miles (9.7 kilometers)
Surface area when full 340 acres (138 hectares)
Capacity when full 26,000 acre-feet (32 million cubic meters)
Depth of water at dam when full 227 feet (69.2 meters)

 

Last updated: July 22, 2010